Road cycling can be incredibly expensive. After all, there are no shortage of top-end bikes that will set you back astonishing amounts of money, often stretching into five figures.
The good news is that if you’re new to the sport, then there’s no need to break the bank. In fact, if you don’t want to commit too much, then it’s easily doable to completely kit yourself out with everything you need on a budget of less than £500.
So, what do you need to get out of the front door and start falling in love with road cycling…?
We’ll start with the obvious. For this sort of money you’re not going to be able to get a fancy carbon-frame. In fact, for most road bikes under £500 you’re probably going to have to settle for either steel or aluminium.
Not that this is a bad thing mind, and should be reasonably comfy offering a sturdy base for you to fall in love with road cycling
B’Twin Triban 500 – £280
The B’Twin Triban 500 features an aluminium frame and steel fork, for improved handling. It isn’t the fastest, lightest bike, but considering the price it is superb. A great entry level road bike for getting into road cycling or regular short distance commuting to work.
There’s also a lifetime warranty on the frame, reliable 24 speed microshift gearing, and a snazzy black, white and orange paintjob.
Head over to the B’Twin website for more details, and for more information on what to look for in an entry-level road bike, watch our video above.
For riding in warm weather, all you’ll need on your top is a short sleeve jersey. This doesn’t need to be anything complicated, and all you need to look for is something that keeps the wind off your chest when going downhill, has a few rear pockets for storing food, money and a phone, and fits well.
Ok, so this Bontrager jersey isn’t the absolute cheapest jersey you’re going to find, but we like it because it really doesn’t feel like an entry-level jersey.
There’s plenty of storage space for when your rides start to get a bit longer and require food for fuel, is really light and comfortable, and also looks and feels much more expensive than it is.
Visit Bontrager for more details
One thing you should not compromise on is shorts. As the main contact point between your body and the bike, shorts should be comfortable and of good quality. Read our buyer’s guide to men’s bib shorts and women’s bib shorts to learn everything you need to know, but the most important things to look for are a good pad and close fit.
dhb Aeron bib shorts – £30
These dhb shorts are a great option for the price. They come with a Cytech pad, the same company that make pads for a whole host of premium brands, so you know they’re going to be comfortable, while, almost as importantly, they’re black, meaning that, unlike white shorts, they won’t turn translucent in wet weather. No one wants to see that, do they…
Visit Wiggle for more details.
There’s an awful lot more to a pair of cycling shoes than you might expect. In fact, your shoes are a really important piece of kit, being the crucial connection between you and your bike, with all the power that your legs generate having to make its way through the soles of your shoes with as little wasted energy as possible.
Another product from dhb, these R2.0C shoes are not the cheapest on the market, but very impressively come with a carbon sole.
This means that the sole of the show won’t bend as much as you pedal, so more of your leg power is turned into forward momentum. And they’re comfy too, certainly good enough for a good few hours in the saddle.
Visit Wiggle for more details
Believe it or not, but it’s perfectly possible to spend almost as much on a helmet as it is on that B’Twin bike.
If you’re not sure what to look for in a helmet, then check out our buyer’s guide to road bike helmets, but of course the most important thing is that it protects you, and for this you don’t have to spend the earth.
In fact you can actually pick up a pretty sleek looking helmet from a big name brand for less than fifty quid. This Giro Foray helmet is a great option.
It features excellent ventilation that will keep your head cool when riding in hot weather, and the adjustment system at the back of the helmet means that it should fit, whatever shape your head is.
Visit Zyro for more details.
I’m sorry to break it to you, but if you really want to get into cycling then you’re going to need clipless pedals, which require your shoes to be attached to the pedals.
This might seem a little scary at first, but they don’t require much practice to get used to, and once you’re into the flow you’ll be riding much faster than you would be with flat pedals.
Shimano R540 pedals – £39.99
These pedals are specifically designed for new riders, with a lighter action to make clipping in and out easier.
They also have a very similar design to some of Shimano’s more expensive pedals, which means that once you get into the sport and have need for better pedals, then you’ll be able to move up the price ladder without having to learn a new action for getting your feet in and out.
Visit Madison for more details.
By our calculations, all of that comes to a grand total of £494.96, but it’s worth noting that that is based only on RRPs, and if you shop around then you should be able to get all of this for much less than that.
It’s also possible to go for cheaper items, on most of these pieces of kit, but we’ve tried to pick out clothing and equipment that will not only get you started on the road, but will get you going at a decent lick too, and stand you in good stead for when you’re ready to spend a little more.
However there are a few little things you might still need on top of this. The most important things that we’ve missed out are tools and a mini pump.
For your first few rides you can get away with a phone and a willing family member in a car to get you out of trouble in the event of a puncture, but you’re much more likely to maintain domestic harmony if you learn how to fix them yourself.
For riding in cold and wet weather you’re also going to need some gloves and a waterproof jacket, but both of which these can be picked up reasonably cheaply, and if you want to record your riding achievements, then a cycling computer will be a good investment too.